Back from my short vacation (or maybe longer one from the Internet if I don't finish this until Monday) I resume my commentary on the responses to my "atheist challenge" inspired in part from my posting on Goosing the Antithesis.
I might as well address the response given by Sharon, who, although not an atheist, is very close friends with one who makes an interesting suggestion that God might simply alter our brain structure so that we become believers. Aside from the logical problems I have with that and address there, my desire is definitely to address the question with the understanding that free choice continues to be a part of the process. (On a side note, if free choice does not exist anyway, then the question is in many ways meaningless.)
Finally getting back to the response by bookjunky, he makes one of the best suggestions I have heard, I think. He suggests that if the earth's rotation were reversed without harm being caused to life on the planet, that would be a clear-cut miracle, as such a thing should simply not be possible. I think this is a good answer, as this indeed would be hard to explain, and pretty much impossible as a natural phenomenon, as he suggests. The following suggestion that God would need to give an explanation to everyone on earth is probably a necessary part, as the miracle itself would have no reference. Some people might find it hard to fully understand why, but Jesus coming back from the dead or raising someone else from the dead is more meaningful than someone coming back from the dead without some sort of prophet around. A miracle without context is interesting, but meaningless.
Other suggestions given are parting the Pacific Ocean, and moving of the stars to spell out a message in all languages (possibly a logical impossibility). This latter suggestion is also essentially given by Jono. All interesting responses, but I believe flawed at their heart for the real reason I think is at the center of this question. As bookjunky says:
Would I then believe in a Christian version of God? Hell, no.Ouch. I think this is significant. Is it enough to simply believe that there is a higher power out there, or is it necessary, in God (be it the Christian God or not) wanting us to believe, that we believe properly? This seems to be a foundational truth of most religions, despite some people claiming the contary. It's not enough just to "be sincere in your belief". You have to be sincere in the belief of the right thing.
Hey, maybe there's a good reason somebody has to disbelieve in the God of the Bible. Then again, there are some people who feel that they have good reason to disbelieve that God exists at all in any form. That's part of what makes Francois' response so appealing to me. He doesn't simply say he has no answer, he positively asserts that the answer does not exist! Even though I happen to believe in God, I, too believe there is no answer to this question, specifically because of our will to deny whatever we will. It may be faith, it may be logic, it may be a number of things, but there are people out there who do believe, people out there who would be willing to believe (or think they would), and people who will not believe. I don't think God can please them all.